what does it mean to historicise today? how do contemporary information storage and transmission mechanisms change the way the human memory functions? these are some of the questions that the project loci aims to address.
the name comes of the plural substantive of the latin term locus, which relates to a variety of concepts such as place, situation, state, etc.). the project was presented last saturday, july 16th, in la perla memorial, as part of my participation in the demolición/construcción residence. still on its early development stage, the web application was presented as a prototype, in an effort to discuss the development process with the other participant artists.
basically, my approach to the subject of the residence does not consider what can be thought as its most iconic aspects, as i agree with the idea of giorgio agamben about this clear incapacity we have while trying to understand these demonstrations of the inhuman, which can be identified in many historical circumstances of changes in the configuration of power, as in the argentinian dictatorship period, which lasted practically for almost 20 years, between the 1960’s and the 1980’s. having that incapacity in mind, i decided to privilege more broad matters that rely on the intersections between memory, art and politics. this conception gradually took form as i was reading agamben’s remnants of auschwitz and jose luis brea’s culture_RAM. based on the idea of testimony as a “relation between the sayable and unsayable” and of archive as “a system of relations between the said and unsaid” (AGAMBEN, 199: p. 45), i decided to discuss a broad concept of memory dimensions in contemporaneity, by proposing a meta-medium which makes references to certain human and computer models of archiving and retrieving information. as luis brea reminds us, after electronic and digital media, human memory continually tries to adapt itself to the reality imposed by the infoscape, an on-going mutation from a mechanism of retrieval to a channel for judgment of recent and simultaneous experiences. in this sense, the moralizing aspect of memory – the iconization of the past – has decayed in favor of more urgent needs: the preterization of the future and the networked understanding of an instantaneous, complex and continuous morphing information pattern. thus, luis brea relates the a ‘obsolete’ form of history to the computer ROM (Read Only Memory), and discourses about a change to what can be metaphorized as the computer RAM (Random Access Memory), stating that the notion of historical truth as a product of its materiality – to say, by archivable forms of culture – or of its provability (the testimonial of specific groups) is giving place to a systematic network of inter-projective processes, in which marginalized perspectives of traditional history emerge and interact with each other, proposing multi-discursive alternatives to what has been accepted as status quo. thus, the “truth” doesn’t matter that much: as long as the information is capable of crossing networks and has affective power, it has its value, no matter the nature of its discourse.
based on these assumptions, loci proposes a deterritorialization of objectified forms of history: archived information of different sorts of digitalized media formats (radio, television, newspapers, books, and so forth) are processed by a software that operates in three levels. one is mathematical, a continuous flux of data textures which are instantaneous results of algorithm calculus, juxtaposing and superposing different layers and types of media; other is linguistic, which relates the metadata which is associated with all information present in a databank, reconfiguring the network of relations at the textual level, operation that interferes directly in what is “remembered” and emerges as interface; which by its turn characterizes the third level, the perceptual: the fragmented images, texts and sounds that compose a continuous meta-form.
the databank for this 1.0 version of loci is composed of information that ran in mass media of 1970’s and 1980’s argentina. most part of this material was obtained during research in the archivo provincial de la memoria de córdoba, the cispren and the archivo del servicio de radio y televisión de la universidad nacional de córdoba. also, some friends helped with indications of popular culture references of that period. some youtube helped too
this databank is not meant to be permanent nor unique. loci is being developed not to be the information it handles, but the very process of in formation as a systematic metaphor of contemporary memory processes. this means that, in future versions, you will be able to load your own databank to loci, and integrate it with other databanks available in the web.
in other words, loci is proposed as a proto-memory, an evolving system that tries to ‘remember’ facts – rescue memorized information – and, by doing so, it generates fictions and counter-facts (or hyper-facts, as i would like to frame) by saving the modified “memories” as new facts in the databank. also, it is intended that loci will look for related information present in the web, by using APIs of engines such as flickr or twitter, extending the historical and meaning spectrum to other limits, to the limit of what wittgenstein defined as language barrier.
the application will be available in the web as soon as i finish the 1.0 version, which shall happen in the following weeks. the release will be announced in this blog. the core development is being done in processing, and the source code of the application will be available on its release.
more details on the development of the application will be revealed soon. i also intend to publish here a text that conceptually supports the project (as i initially announced a couple of weeks back).
the presentation of the project was very pleasing precisely because of the feedback i obtained from the other artists and thinkers, and i would like to say a big thank you to all for that. a special thanks goes to lina lopes (who i would also like to thank for taking most of the presentation pictures), gabriela halac, graciela de oliveira and eugenia almeida for their interest and contribution to the subjects of the project. and thanks to ángel poyón, fhernando poyón and edgar calel for the great exchange of ideas during or time in fundación pluja, which i would like to thank for the hospitality.
i would also like to thank the la perla memorial, the cispren, the archivo provincial de la memoria de córdoba and the universidad nacional de córdoba for their support to the research.
and of course, a big thank you to graciela de oliveira and soledad sanchez for the incredible effort in organizing the phronesis criolla residence.
here are a few images and a video from the presentation day, in la perla. stay tuned for more information about the loci project.